Ontario Natural Food Co-op

Randy Whitteker of the Ontario Natural Food Co-op

Local Food Hero 2005

Randy Whitteker is the General Manager of the Ontario Natural Food Co-op (ONFC), a leading co-operative that oversees the distribution of natural and organic food in the GTA region. ONFC’s mission is to foster a sustainable food system by supplying products that are grown organically, locally, and fairly traded, and through supporting companies who practice sustainability and heed to the triple bottom line (economic, social, and environmental).

Unique Food System Problem

The ONFC began as the Toronto Federation of Food Co-operatives & Clubs Inc. in 1975. After recognizing a strong need for greater business leadership within the retail food sector, the co-op made a decision to sell to for-profit natural food stores in 1986. The ONFC believes that there should be more natural, organic and local foods on the market and that this mission is best achieved through a co-operative network that is responsible to its consumers and members.

Unique Food System Solution

From seed to plate, the ONFC has established a business model that is democratic, honest, and socially responsible. The ONFC proudly provides a wide variety of organic and natural foods and products that are sourced in a sustainable manner. It is now launching a product called ‘Ontario Natural Tomatoes’, its own brand of canned organic Ontario-grown tomatoes. The ONFC also continues to educate its consumers about the kinds of choices that can be made to support personal and environmental health.